Sempervirens Fund Brings Students to Big Basin with WOLF School

Web of Life Field (WOLF) School has proven that the “web of life” is more than just their name: it’s their mission!

Exemplifying the impact of interconnectedness, WOLF School facilitated a field trip on March 14, 2016 which brought a group of San Jose students from Andrew Hill High School to Big Basin Redwoods State Park as part of a Sempervirens Fund initiative. The connection? Both Big Basin and Sempervirens were founded by the school’s namesake, Andrew P. Hill.

Andrew P. Hill (1853–1922) established the Sempervirens Fund in 1900, with the specific goal of protecting an expanse of old growth Redwood forest he photographed in California’s heavily logged Santa Cruz Mountains. Hill’s efforts led to the founding of California's first state park, now Big Basin Redwoods State Park, and subsequently the California State Park System. Today, Sempervirens continues Hill’s legacy, preserving and protecting the Santa Cruz Mountains’ coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forests, wildlife habitats and watersheds, and encouraging enjoyment of this region.

 Students measure the height of redwoods during their WOLF School field trip to Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

Students measure the height of redwoods during their WOLF School field trip to Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

Though Andrew Hill High School students learn the history of their school’s namesake, many never have the opportunity to experience firsthand the beauty of the redwoods that inspired such a dedication to preservation, or why it matters. Now, however, that opportunity has been realized.

Thanks to donor support, Sempervirens garnered enough funding to send 37 9th and 12th grade students from Andrew P. Hill High School to Big Basin, with the goal of connecting students to the lasting impact of Hill’s legacy and inspiring stewardship among future generations. To facilitate their goal, Sempervirens turned to WOLF School, a nonprofit organization providing K-12 outdoor science camp.

Operating at multiple campuses throughout Northern California, WOLF School is headquartered in Little Basin, a 534-acre California State Parks campground that was recently added to Big Basin Redwoods State Park in part through Sempervirens Fund. This educational collaboration between WOLF School and Sempervirens furthers each organization’s mission of environmental stewardship, with future plans of bringing more student groups to Big Basin through Sempervirens-funded WOLF School field trips. “We are thrilled by the opportunity to help students get out and engaged,” elated Mike Kahn, Communications and Outreach Manager for Sempervirens Fund. “People protect what they connect to.”

 Sempervirens Fund brought students from Andrew P. Hill High School to Big Basin Redwoods State Park to experience the legacy of their school's namesake, and to inspire the next generation of redwood stewards.

Sempervirens Fund brought students from Andrew P. Hill High School to Big Basin Redwoods State Park to experience the legacy of their school's namesake, and to inspire the next generation of redwood stewards.

Andrew Hill High School science teacher Bill Hink was thoughtful in his selection of students: for most, the trip marked their first to the redwoods, and he included freshman in hopes of inspiring a connection to school throughout the student’s high school experience. Guided by WOLF School naturalists, students walked the Redwood Loop at Big Basin to take in the beauty of the old-growth redwoods, participated in a Redwood Study to track the continued vitality of the protected forest, and visited the Sempervirens Fund room where they learned of the nonprofit’s continued dedication to Andrew Hill’s vision. As the students filed back onto the bus at the end of the day, exhilarated from their experience at Big Basin and educated on the mission of the Sempervirens Fund, the full impact was felt. The impact of action, of stewardship, of an individual’s potential, and of the web of life that connects us all.


To make a donation to WOLF School's Scholarship Fund, and help get more kids outdoors, click here.

To learn more about Sempervirens Fund, California’s oldest land trust, visit sempervirens.org.